VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis told young choristers he sings “like a donkey” and once wanted to be a butcher.
The pope took the unusual opportunity to answer the choristers’ questions Thursday (Dec. 31) during the annual meeting of the Pueri Cantores, an international Catholic choral organization.
The give-and-take included insights from Francis about growing up in Argentina and his thoughts on media and anger.
Here are some of the pope’s responses:
Francis acquired a love of music as a child, while listening to opera on the radio. But despite believing that singing is good for the soul, he said he has no such talents:
“I like hearing singing, but, if I sang, I’d sound like a donkey, because I don’t know how to sing. I don’t even know how to speak well, because I have a defect in the way I speak, in the phonetics.”
When he was a child the pontiff dreamed of being a butcher:
“Why? Because there were butchers in the market — there were three or four places for meat — taking the knife, cutting the pieces. … It’s an art, and I liked to see it, to watch it.”
The pontiff admitted he gets angry when people do something wrong.
“But I don’t bite!” he said.
He described anger as “poisonous” and seemed particularly aggrieved with those who have a “bitter soul”: “It seems that every morning they clean their teeth with vinegar to be so angry! People like this … it’s a sickness.”
Although Francis doesn’t log online, he likes to read the papers and claimed to know a thing or two about the workings of global media:
“There are so many good things in the world, and I ask myself: Why are these good things not published? Because it seems that people prefer to see mean things or hear bad news. … If you want to have (a high) rating — journalist, television or whatever you want — show only bad things; people get bored of good things.”
(Rosie Scammell covers the Vatican for RNS)